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Heaven: Three Levels

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What is the second heaven?

The second heaven is not called such in Scripture; rather, the existence of the second heaven is inferred from the fact that the Bible speaks of a “third heaven,” and, if there is a third heaven, there must be a first heaven and second heaven, too. The idea that more than one type of “heaven” exists is confirmed in , which says that Jesus, our High Priest, is “exalted above the heavens”; in other words, Jesus is in a heaven beyond other heavens.
Hebrews 7:26 NASB95
For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
Jesus is “exalted above” the heavens.

The Third Heaven

Mentioned by Paul in
2 Corinthians 12:2 NASB95
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven.
See verse 4 of same chapter and read what he equates the third heaven to.
2 Corinthians 12:4 NASB95
was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.
He equated the 3rd heaven to “paradise,” the realm where God dwells.
If the third heaven is God’s dwelling place, then we could consider the second heaven to be “outer space,” the realm of the stars and planets; and the first heaven to be earth’s atmosphere, the realm of the birds and clouds.
If the third heaven is God’s dwelling place, then we could consider the second heaven to be “outer space,” the realm of the stars and planets; and the first heaven to be earth’s atmosphere, the realm of the birds and clouds.

The term Heaven

The term heaven is used in Scripture to refer to all three realms.

FIRST HEAVEN

Psalm 104:12 NASB95
Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; They lift up their voices among the branches.
referring to the atmosphere of Earth.

SECOND HEAVEN

Isaiah 13:10 NASB95
For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light.
referring to the cosmos or outer space.

THIRD HEAVEN

Revelation 11:19 NASB95
And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
referring to God’s dwelling place.

FALSE TEACHING ABOUT THE KINDS OF HEAVEN

Some Charismatic groups use the term second heaven in reference to Satan’s domain and anything that comes from there. They take biblical descriptions of Satan being “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” () and demons being “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” () and develop a theology of spiritual warfare.
Ephesians 2:2 NASB95
in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
Ephesians 6:12 NASB95
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
According to these groups, “second heaven revelations” are false visions coming from Satan in an attempt to deceive God’s prophets on earth. Prophets must learn to distinguish between “second heaven revelations” (from the devil) and “third heaven revelations” (from God).
According to these groups, “second heaven revelations” are false visions coming from Satan in an attempt to deceive God’s prophets on earth. Prophets must learn to distinguish between “second heaven revelations” (from the devil) and “third heaven revelations” (from God). These same groups also sometimes teach a hierarchy of demonic power, with the first-heaven (earth-bound) demons being of lesser authority and power than the second-heaven demons.
These same groups also sometimes teach a hierarchy of demonic power, with the first-heaven (earth-bound) demons being of lesser authority and power than the second-heaven demons.

LESSON

Categorizing demons into first-heaven and second-heaven types goes beyond what the Bible says. Again, the Bible does not include the term second heaven anywhere. Those who look for prophecies or new revelations from God set themselves up for deception. God has spoken, and the Bible’s canon is closed. We do not need a “new word” from God; we need to obey His “old word.”
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